“Moms of D.C. are busy — really busy!” That’s how I started last year’s post on where to get a flu shot for your kids. But it’s 2020, and I’m laughing that I thought I was busy last year. Now the that world is turned upside down; I manage distance learning for my kids while I work online, I’m just trying to stay sane. And with everyone afraid of venturing out, even to the doctor, because of the risk of catching COVID-19, getting my kids a flu shot was not high on my to-do list.
But guess what: This year, the flu shot is more important than ever, and it may be easier to get.
Flu shots save kids’ lives.
Kids — healthy kids — die from the flu every year. The CDC estimates that 480 children died in the 2018-19 season from flu and its complications. Dr. Laura Sidari published a story about losing her precious 4-year-old to the flu last year; it’s heart-wrenching. As she points out, 80 percent of the children who died of the flu were not vaccinated.
This year, the flu poses a greater risk. The symptoms are similar to COVID-19, which could complicate diagnosis, and it’s possible for a person can get infected with both at the same time. In addition, hospitals normally prepared for a steady stream of flu patients will also be dealing with COVID patients (remember, “flatten the curve“).
Flu shots for kids can now be easier to get.
While there is no COVID vaccine (yet), we do have one for the flu that protects kids, and it helps protect other more vulnerable people in the population, such as infants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone older than 6 months get the flu vaccine every year, and for some children that means two shots spaced out by a few weeks. And because of the urgency this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services expanded coverage; any pharmacist who completes a training course can now give flu shots to children 3 and over.
You should always confer with your pediatrician on any medical decision, but if making an appointment and getting into the office is difficult, here are a few other places to get your child vaccinated — without the wait. All of these places follow social distancing rules; clients need to wear masks and staff wear appropriate protective equipment.
Where to get kids a flu shot by age
- 8 years and or older: Take them to CVS, Costco, Walmart, Safeway or almost any other pharmacy in D.C., MD or VA (CDC has a vaccine finder app for that).
- 3 years and older:
- 18 months and older: Make an appointment online for any of a dozen CVS Minute Clinics. You will get a coupon for $5 off at CVS or Target.
- 6 months and older:
- MedStar’s 5 Prompt Care locations include Adams Morgan and Capitol Hill.
- Costco Pharmacies can now give flu shots for anyone 6 months and older, and they take appointments or walk-ins.
- Montgomery County holds free vaccine clinics. Check the website, as they usually run from September through November.
If you try out one of these locations for a quick flu shot, please share how it goes below. That way everyone can get back to fall fun!